2013-02-28 / Community News

Groundbreaking Ceremonies for Capitol Monument Honoring Texas Vietnam War Veterans

An Historic Tribute to 3,417 Fallen Heroes

The Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument will celebrate its Groundbreaking on March 24 and 25 in Austin with a special tribute to the Texans who died in the Vietnam War. “We invite all Texans, especially Vietnam veterans and their families, to participate in these public events to honor our fallen heroes,” said Robert Floyd, who chairs the Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument committee.

Sunday, March 24 - A Reading of the Names of the 3,417 Texans who died in Vietnam conducted by more than 110 volunteers will be held at the Lady Bird Johnson Auditorium of the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library from 8:30 a.m.– 5:30 p.m. On the same day, the Texas Vietnam Heroes Exhibit of 3,417 hand-stamped dog tags honoring each Texan will open in the Great Hall of the LBJ Library. Parking and admission at the Library are free. An evening reception for veterans and families will be held at 6:00 p.m. at Austin’s historic Scholz Garten. Several family members of Texans killed in the Vietnam War will be participating in both the Reading of the Names and the reception. Hundreds of Texas Vietnam veterans from across the state are expected to attend.

Monday, March 25 - The monument Groundbreaking Ceremony will take place on the Texas Capitol Grounds at 10:00 a.m. Texan Joe Galloway, the combat correspondent whose best-selling book We Were Soldiers Once, and Young, recounts the battle for which he was the only civilian awarded the Bronze Star with a ‘V” for Valor, will deliver the keynote address. Ms. Karoni Forrester, the Texas State Coordinator of the National League of families, will also speak. Forrester’s father, U.S. Marine Corps pilot Captain Ronald Wayne Forrester was shot down in Vietnam and remains among those listed as Missing In Action. Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson will serve as the Master of Ceremonies. The ceremony is free and open to the public. Full information, including information about special hotel rates and how to make reservations for the reception, is available at http:// buildthemonument.org/ groundbreaking-events.

The Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument will honor all Texans who served in the Armed Forces in the Vietnam War, which officially ended 50 years ago. The 3,417 Texas Heroes of the war will be individually remembered by the entombment of personalized dog tags bearing their name, rank, branch of service, hometown and date of loss.

U.S. Marine Corps Vietnam veterans Don Dorsey and James Hart are hand-stamping each tag. The tags will be dedicated for entombment during the Groundbreaking, then carried in vintage military vehicles, accompanied by Patriot Guard and Combat Veteran Motorcycle Riders, to Bastrop. The people of Bastrop will host a Receiving Ceremony at 2:00 p.m. at the Deep in the Heart Art Foundry where the bronze monument is being built. The monument, now in the clay stage of production, will be available for public viewing at the foundry. A duplicate set of the Hero Tags will be displayed for the public in the Texas Vietnam Heroes exhibit.

The Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument was approved by the Texas legislature in 2005. Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa and Representative Wayne Smith, both Vietnam veterans, co-sponsored the legislation. “The monument will be here at the Capitol both to honor those who have given their lives for their country, and to welcome home those who came back,” said Hinojosa. “This event is an important reminder that many Texans made the supreme sacrifice during their service in the Armed Forces in Vietnam,” Smith added.

The Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument will be dedicated in the next twelve months.

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